Platelets play a pivotal role in thrombosis and hemostasis, but an increasing variety of extra-hemostatic functions of platelets are being recognized. This review summarizes recent advances in the understanding of the role of platelets in various pathologies involving the liver. In ischemia/reperfusion injury of the liver, platelets appear to play a dual role. On one hand, platelets bind to the activated sinusoidal endothelium and induce apoptosis of these cells; on the other hand, platelet-derived serotonin assists in repair of the ischemic tissue. Furthermore, platelets are attracted to the liver following systemic inflammatory stimuli, but the significance of this finding is still unclear. Platelets and platelet-derived serotonin appear vital for liver regeneration following a partial liver resection. Finally, platelets and platelet-derived serotonin aggravate viral hepatitis by affecting the microcirculation in the liver.
Thieme Medical Publishers.